Bad Bridge put Radio Station staff into boats

The bridge is closed, blocked, concrete barriers are solidly in place. There is no traffic across the Boot Key Bridge just south of Marathon in the Florida Keys. The draw bridge still goes up and down to let large boats through but that’s because the bridge can’t stay up because of concerns about winds damaging the structure.

Ok, not a lot of people live on Boot Key and those who do are probably there illegally. There are some commercial fishing operations, lobsters, stone crabs, fish of all kinds brought to the shanty camps that have cropped up in the mangroves.

And then there are the Radio Stations.

The Keys Radio Group operates two FMs and one AM broadcast facilities on the key. Two of the stations have news broadcasts, the AM is all talk radio. The AM is pretty much the radio voice of Marathon, the local town station.

Before we go on, I do provide radio commentary for two of the stations. WTJV and the Keys Radio group have a partnership. This is especially evident during hurricane season when we all work closely air each other’s material.

So back to the bridge. Now the radio station staffers have to get to work by boat. And that is just the engineers and production staff. The on-air folks are doing their shows from local restaurants and other locations. We call them “remotes” in our business. But for all intents the radio stations are cut off from the rest of the world.

The State of Florida DOT sent a letter to the City of Marathon detailing a November 7th inspection which showed a critical deterioration of the bridge under structure. In short the concrete pilings are crumbling and the rebar is rusted and all but gone.

Why would a bridge built in the 1960’s be in such tough shape. Locals will tell you their theory.
They suspect the contractor used beach sand in the mixing of the concrete. Over the years, they say, the salt ate away at the steel rebar and the salt weakened the concrete. This kind of deterioration is not unique. It has been a problem with some of the older Miami and Miami Beach buildings.

Ok the radio station might have serious issues but there is more. Keys Radio Group owns a huge tower that holds their FM antennas. But along with their radio gear there is a slew of antennas that serve radio communications vital to the public safety of the Keys. The issue is getting service personnel on to the key for maintain, especially when the weather is getting ugly. The same for the Keys Cooperative Power company. Are all these maintainers going to jump into the radio stations Zodiac for a run to the Key?

Yes, that’s correct. The Keys Radio group now commute to and from the key in a Zodiac or whatever boat station owner Joe Nascone can scare up.

Nascone is talking to lawyers. By the way the cost to repair the bridge? Millions. Not much of chance of that.

So we have DJ’s in a boat.

Another story out of the Keys that makes the island chain so unique.


There are no comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: